Instead the first quarter jitters came from the Magic’s attack which coughed up too much ball and trailed the Pulse by five goals before they registered their first successful shot at goal.
The Magic struggled getting ball into their attacking third as their flow was halted by a strong Pulse defensive unit and they trailed 11-14 going into the first break.
Similar problems blemished their start to the second quarter – the final pass in the shooting circle often going astray – as a more cohesive Pulse side opened up a 17-12 lead.
Pulse mid-courters Henry and Shadrock worked well in pushing their opposition into the pockets which opened up cross-court passes for both Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit and Katrina Grant, who was playing her 80th ANZ Championship match, to pick off valuable ball.
The Central side had been guilty of not picking up enough ball on defence against the Swifts last week but responded well in the first half gaining seven deflections and one intercept.
At the other end of the court van Dyk and Donna Wilkins worked their magic in the shooting circle with some deft exchanges between each other which only strengthened as the match went on.
But as the Magic started to tighten their defensive screws, both inside and outside the circle, the pressure started to tell on the Pulse frontline which was forced into errors mid-way through the quarter and with three minutes remaining on the clock, the scores were locked at 20-20.
A time-out from the Pulse backfired as the Magic came out strongly from the break and went into half-time with a 23-21 lead.
The arm-wrestle continued into the third spell as the Pulse evened the score up again and the two sides traded blows goal for goal for much of the quarter – nothing separating them as they entered the final quarter locked at 33-33.
Patience was needed from the Magic feeders who found themselves under immense defensive pressure as they waited for the space to open up in the circle.
Goal attack Ellen Halpenny stood up for the Magic when it counted most in a thrilling fourth stanza claiming the turnover which looked to give the hosts a winning edge.
But a tip from Grant saw momentum shift again and when the whistles blew at the end of regulation time the scores were locked at 45-45 forcing the game into extra time.
photo Cheltenham jockey club
photo Cheltenham Racecourse